Writing When the World Was Black and White

For those of us who remember, the events, the memories, the fears of World War II are still as vivid as if they had happened yesterday.

I don’t live in the past.

But my mind wanders there quite often, and my imagination hardly ever wants to leave.

Why? I ask myself.

Maybe, it’s because I’m bored with the present, I tell myself.

Life has its hardships still. Life has its conflicts still.

But life is too easy for fiction.

Need to go cross-country?

Grab a plane.

Car breaks down in the middle of the desert?

Call AAA roadside assistance.

Scared on a lonely street in the middle of the night?

Fish out a cell phone.

Someone following you?

Call 9-1-1.

Caleb Pirtle

Where is the fear?

Where is the panic?

Where is the threat?’

Where is the suspense?

For me, it’s all buried somewhere in the dark and murky shadows of the past, which is why my Ambrose Lincoln novels have all been set during the early days of World War II when villains wore the faces of evil, and we never forgot the way they looked or the travesties they committed, and we knew who our enemies were.

As I wrote in Secrets of the Dead:

The German’s eyes were bright and beginning to dilate. A sudden rush of unbridled adrenaline had shot through his veins. His hands were trembling. He had killed from afar. He had hidden in trenches and behind hedgerows and shot down soldiers who had no names and no faces, only forms marching across an empty field.

Now he must kill face to face.

Now he must kill close enough to smell the garlic on the dying man’s breath.

Now he must kill close enough to watch life depart from a man’s eyes.

He hesitated.

A man who hesitates always dies long before his appointed time.

It was a thriller that could not have been set during any other period of history.

For those under forty, it might well be regarded as historical fiction.

But for those of us who remember World War II, even as young children, the events, the memories, the fears are still as vivid as if they had happened yesterday.

For us, it’s not history at all. It is a black and white snapshot of our lives, taken when the world was black and white with no gray lines to smear the two.

Please click HERE to find Secrets of the Dead on Amazon.

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